Was it just a wrong turn, or something more sinister?
Marine base Camp Pendleton -- one of the largest military bases in the country -- is reportedly on high alert after three Middle Eastern men tried to enter the base last weekend on multiple occasions in multiple vehicles. And while the men initially claimed they didn't know each other and simply took a wrong turn, new information from a local gas station about "hateful comments" and "terrorist threats" casts doubt on their story:
KGTV explains some of the shocking details:
According to a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) alert issued to high-ranking Camp Pendleton officials, someone reported hearing hateful comments and terrorist threats from three men at a gas station in Oceanside Saturday.
Investigators at Camp Pendleton said the men asked the attendant for directions on how to get to Camp Pendleton before they left the gas station.
According to the alert, shortly after midnight Sunday, a rented silver Toyota Corolla driven by Naeem attempted to enter Camp Pendleton through the main gate. As it was being searched, Petrossian and Avanosian drove up in a black Mercedes, but were told to wait. Instead, they continued past the gate and onto the base. Following a short pursuit, the Mercedes was stopped and searched.
No weapons or contraband were found in the Mercedes, but base security noticed the air bag in the steering wheel of the Mercedes had been pulled out and re-attached with duct tape and had wires hanging free, the alert said.
After questioning, all three men said they were headed to the same destination -- Glendale. They were photographed and released. But that wasn't the end of it. Later Sunday morning Naeem returned and again tried to enter the base, saying he was trying to get to the interstate. He was given a letter of debarment and escorted to the freeway, KGTV reports.
A local security expert who does undercover work and asked only to be called "John," told KGTV the incident sounds like a dry run.
"Number one: they went on base twice. Their stories didn't stick, kinda wishy washy. Number two: the vehicle, the condition of the vehicle," John said. "They could have been probing the security, not just cameras, sensors, individual security from MPs. Three: [they] could have wanted to know what background checks would have produced."
KGTV says it has learned that since the incident, high-ranking Camp Pendleton officials have notified other bases as well as law enforcement about a possible threat.
(H/T: Blaze reader Jeannette)